Monday, July 7, 2014

Happy 154th, Gus

Born on this date in 1860 in Kalischt, Bohemia, in the Austrian Empire: Gustav Mahler. 

Were I restricted--in a desert island-type scenario--to owning recordings of a single composer's work, I would choose his, Beethoven notwithstanding. I've felt this way since September 1972, when I heard the 4th Symphony at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh. It was like hearing a stranger articulate my inmost thoughts and react to the world's stimuli in precisely the same way as I did. Such intimacy of artistic effect has been rare in my experience: among writers, I experienced it with Kingsley Amis, Vladimir Nabokov, and Flann O'Brien. Of painters, Van Gogh and his Dutch ancestors and Monet.    

Listen to his best interpreter, Bernstein:

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